IN THE SOUTH
A tornado that carved a path of destruction through the Mississippi Delta last month destroyed roughly 300 homes and businesses and killed 13 people in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. The twister killed 13 of Rolling Fork's roughly 1,700 residents, destroyed about 300 homes and businesses and laid waste to entire blocks, leaving many to wonder whether their small-town bonds and shared heritage will be enough to convince one another to stay and try to rebuild.
Rolling Fork has a proud history, claiming blues legend Muddy Waters as a native son and a role in the invention of the teddy bear, after President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a restrained bear during a 1902 hunting trip.
But the city and surrounding Sharkey County are in one of the country's poorest regions and were already facing tough economic challenges before the March 24 tornado lashed the community with 200 mph (320 kph) winds, closing down nearly every local business. Volatile agricultural markets and a lack of jobs and new industry have kept Sharkey’s poverty rate at around 35%, nearly double Mississippi's roughly 19% rate and triple the nation's nearly 12% rate.
The destruction can seem unquantifiable to weary residents who have been working alongside a network of volunteers every day since the tornado to sort through mounds of rubble. Some homes were lifted off the ground by their foundations. A bear statue commemorating Roosevelt's visit still stands in the heart of downtown, but the twister left its mark on hundreds of structures, including schools, clinics and the local hospital. The community has pulled together, but the tornado stacked longstanding challenges on top of newer ones, such as high inflation and rising interest rates. In a rebuilt Rolling Fork, residents want more jobs, better infrastructure and a fighting chance to keep people from fleeing.
There are many ways to make a difference!
PRAY: Would you join us in praying for the families and communities of Louisiana who have been affected by this natural disaster?
GIVE: You can donate funds, supplies, equipment, etc. that will go directly to families in need!
SERVE: We are currently receiving Volunteer Relief Teams!
Available opportunities to SERVE:
Cooking & Food Distribution Teams
Manual Labor (chainsaw/debris removal, roofing repair & tarping, etc.)
Warehouse & Supply Distribution Teams
Our Disaster Relief Response 1st Wave Team is heading towards Arkansas & Mississippi April 29th, 2023.
There will be 3-day, 6-day, & 10-day trip options, all starting on April 29th.
If you would like to join this trip or for more information about our Volunteer Disaster Relief Teams hitting the ground, click on the button below to sign up or email us at: